Most of us will get the State Pension when we retire, but understanding exactly how it works and what you might get, isn't straightforward. We've put together guides and videos to explain how the State Pension works. And in our State Pension challenge - we bring to life the realities of living on the State Pension for a week.

How the State Pension works

Watch our short video where our consumer finance specialist, Sarah Pennells, explains how the State Pension works and who can get it.

For most people, the state pension provides the foundation for their retirement income. So, it’s worth understanding how it works and when you might get it.

In this short video, I’ll explain the basics.

The state pension is a regular payment you can claim from the government as soon as you reach state pension age.

The amount you get will depend on what’s called your National Insurance record. This is a record of how much National Insurance you’ve paid when you’ve been working, or been credited with, perhaps because you’ve been unable to work.

To get the full state pension, you’ll need 35 years of National Insurance.

The amount of state pension you get in the UK increases every year in line with rises in the cost of living or other measures.

So, this is what the full state pension pays in the current tax year, as a weekly amount and an annual amount.


Tax year 2022 – 23

£185.15 weekly

£9,660.86 annually

If you’re part of a couple, you’ll each get the full amount, as long as you each have a full National Insurance record of 35 years. And you need at least ten years of National Insurance to get any state pension at all.

As well as how much you might get, it’s important to consider when you can claim the state pension. The age you can get it depends on when you’re born. The current state pension age is 66, which means you can get the state pension when you’re 66 years old.

But the state pension age is due to rise in the future, which means, depending on your age, you may have to wait until you’re 67 - or older - before you’re entitled to claim your state pension.

Getting a State Pension forecast

A State Pension forecast will tell you how much you’re on track to receive from your State Pension. The quickest way to get yours is online – which you’ll need a Government Gateway account for. Follow our four easy steps to get your online State Pension forecast.

1. Create a Government Gateway account

Go to

Click on ‘Create an account’.

You’ll be given a 12-digit user ID which you can use to log in with a password you choose.

You’ll need an email address, and you’ll be sent a confirmation code to confirm your email address is valid.

2. Set up security

Each time you log in you’ll be sent a six-digit access code as an added layer of security. As part of the initial set-up you’ll need to choose how this code is sent to you and then verify that it’s working.

3. Verify your identity

The first time you log in you’ll be asked to provide information that can be checked against HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) records.

First, you’ll need to enter your National Insurance number or postcode.

Then you can choose two items from UK Passport, your payslip or P60, tax credit or voice ID.

You may also be able to answer questions about your credit record.

4. View your State Pension forecast

You’ll be shown your State Pension forecast as weekly, monthly and yearly amounts.

You’ll be able to see how much you’re entitled to claim built on your National Insurance record so far, and how much you can claim when you reach State Pension age. This second figure normally assumes you continue to pay National Insurance (or receive credits for it) until you reach State Pension age.

You’ll also be shown the date you’ll be able to start claiming your State Pension.

Our State Pension challenge

We wanted to bring to life the realities of living on the State Pension, so our consumer finance specialist, Sarah Pennells, along with five of our customers, tried to live on the equivalent of the State Pension for a week to show how this might impact their daily lives.

Meet those who took on the challenge

Sarah Pennells was joined by some of our customers as they took part in the State Pension challenge. 

Head shot of Sarah Pennells


Head shot of James


Head shot of Stevie


Head shot of Kate


Head shot of Matthew


Head shot of David


Sarah and the customers living on the State Pension amount for a week recorded regular videos to share their experience and tips on saving money.

Watch the challenge videos  about Meet those who took on the challenge